A brief sample of some of the projects completed and classes that have been offered in the past year:



Google SketchUp is a 3D design program that some would call AutoCAD-light. It enables students and designers alike to create three-dimensional structures and design them inside and out. Rather than talk about it here, let's check out the SketchUp Gallery. Again, as with all of the Google Applications, there is a collaborative piece to it, and it's a doozy: users can share their structures with others and collaborate to build whole communities. In addition, users have the option of including their designs in the 3D Warehouse for others to use and modify.
To start, we will take the tutorials that SketchUp offers, then proceed to play around with our own models. Also, check out some recent student work done by 8th Graders at the middle school.
Some other sites to check out with SketchUp models

Here are some Models from the Gallery at the SketchUp site:


Last year, David and I introduced podcasting to several teachers in our district. In addition to those that were already doing it, a large number of teachers participated in the Lecture123 pilot program, which involved a form of podcasting known as videocasting. Look for more teachers to post podcasts for their students this year.

District Podcasts:
Patty Curtis
Erica Hartman and Jo Shuppon
Craig Merrill
Jenn Caputo

Social Bookmarking

One thing teachers struggled with in past years is saving websites in school for future use. Every time they would attempt to save a site on their standalone machine, it would be removed at the next machine restart due to Deep Freeze. Social Bookmarking solved this. We use a service called del.icio.us to keep our bookmarks, or favorites, stored for us so that they are accessible from any machine. Here is a quick sample of how it works:

Other Educators in del.icio.us

Here is a list of elementary and middle school educators who are using del.icio.us. Feel free to visit their accounts and even use RSS to subscribe to their accounts or just a single tag.

Ms. Armstrong is also using a Del.icio.us feed: http://s1math.blogspot.com/
http://del.icio.us/brasst - Tami Brass via http://surfaquarium.com/TOE/2005/tbrass.htm
http://del.icio.us/cbonner - Collin Bonner (Special Education K-12) via http://elgg.net/collinb/
http://del.icio.us/derrallg - Derrall Garrison via http://educalgarden.blogs.com
http://del.icio.us/cfisher - Clarence Fisher - via http://www.remoteaccess.typepad.com/
http://del.icio.us/JSGeometry - Jeanne Simpson via http://mathmusings.blogspot.com/
http://del.icio.us/noon - Doug Noon via http://borderland.northernattitude.org/
http://del.icio.us/bitbybit - Bob Sprankle via http://www.bobsprankle.com/
http://del.icio.us/reiffert - Robert Eiffert via http://www.beiffert.net/wordpress/
http://del.icio.us/mahlness - Mark Ahlness via http://www.earthdaybags.org/mahlness.htm
http://del.icio.us/Landrum - Landrum Middle School via http://lms.springbranchisd.com/
http://del.icio.us/wegner - Graham Wegner via http://gwegner.edublogs.org/
http://del.icio.us/acl0026 - Alicia via http://www.indefinitearticles.blogspot.com/
http://del.icio.us/AlUpton - Al Upton via http://alupton.wordpress.com/
http://del.icio.us/mikeheth - Mike Hetherington - http://mhetherington.net/blogs/
taken from Quentin D'Souza's wiki on Social Bookmarking


My status
My status

Imagine that you are stumped. A student has asked you a question that you have know idea how to answer. Now imagine you had the ability to "phone a friend," much like the game show. Well, in actuality, you do. Skype is an application that uses Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP for short. What this means is that the internet becomes your telephone. Skype works for free between skype users, and for a very small fee ($29.95 per year) you can call anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

Skype also has a chat feature, allows you to send files back and forth, and also allows you to hold a conference call between people on your contacts list.

Blogs / Writing the City

Blogging with your students

One of the ways you can involve your student in a collaborative effort or project is through a class blog. They take several forms in the classroom:
This summer's blogging class was well-received and we currently have 6 teachers who are ready to begin blogging with their classes when school begins. Teachers who have planned on this are:
  • Rachel Hendrickson
  • Erica Hartman
  • Laura Heller
  • Adriana Toma
  • Cathy Wille
  • Jo Shuppon

Other teachers at the middle school have used a publishing site called Writing the City, to house student writing in a secure environment.


Thousand and One Flat World Tales Project
Clay Burell from Korea International School created this collaborative story writing project and invites all teachers and students world-wide to participate
Scriptwriting with a Wiki
Students use a wiki to collaboratively write a play
World War I Wiki WebQuest
A simulation of fighting for victory in WWI
Holocaust Wiki Project
Students research the holacaust, then create a simulation using the wiki to examine what choices people made and the impact of their choices
AP World History Review Wiki
Students collaboratively create a review guide for AP World History, using a wiki
Virtual Art Galleries
This is written for a blog, but can certainly be adapted to a wiki
A Collaboration of Sights and Sounds
students research and analyze protest songs, then organize their findings in a wiki
Country in a Box
Bob Gilmartin's remixing of a class project he had done in the past, but in wiki form. Allowed the students to add interactive features.
Harlem Renaissance
Gina Girlando's class project where the wiki was only part of the whole project grade. This one appeared in the Sparta Independent in this article. Access to this site has to be reviewed by the organizer.
Two Language Arts classes on the Amber Team using the wiki as a way to study and discuss the book, Tangerine, by Edward Bloor. As an added bonus, the students will get to ask the author questions through his participation in the wiki! This site is private, so your access will need to be approved by the space organizers.
AP Language and Composition
high school students in Angela Davis' AP Language and Composition class use the wiki to post and discuss critical papers (and have some harmless fun). Check out the discussion boards on this site.
Merrill's Project
This wiki site was used to house the project resources for Craig Merrill's US History 1 classes at the high school. They used this site to help them create digital stories about the War of 1812.
The Pearl Team has changed over from their annual PowerPoint project to one that has similar criteria, but is contained in wiki. This site is private, so your access will need to be approved by the space organizers.
Math 9
A great math site from a teacher who has thrown aside his textbook. Great resource.
Pearl Team Math
Jason Kopp's final exam review from last year.